Olifant’s River is a region in the Western Cape of South Africa, and is defined by the very long river which runs through it. The region is very heavily irrigated around the river, and there are a large number of citrus and tea groves in the area, as well as orchards with a variety of fruit. Olifant’s river itself provides much of the liquid in the area, as the region has significantly low rainfall. This is reflected in the sandy soil which covers large swathes of the area, although there are also some patches of red clay which give some wines a very earthy taste.
The region itself has plenty of warm-to-cool winds which allow vines which need cool evenings to properly grow to flourish in the region. For more difficult vines, the wine farmers of Olifant’s River rely upon modern technologies and methods to ensure that their wine is the best available. The resulting wines are usually of good quality, although some wine producers may have a low harvest resulting in fewer cases of their wines. Nevertheless, many wine farmers have managed to turn a living from farming the soil of the Olifant’s River region.
Olifant’s River is one of the largest wine districts in South Africa, and stretches along the entire valley for the River. It includes the Cederberg Mountain range, and then winds itself for more than 200km into the Namaqualand, known for its spring-time wild flowers. The Citrusdal wine district can provide growers with a good soil, and there are also a wide range of fruits that can be added to the wine, all on the grower’s doorstep. The wines produced here are grown intensively using modern technology, which has also helped to produce the majority of the wines in the Olifant’s River wine region.
There are a number of big wine growers in the region, most particularly around the Lutzville Valley. This area is a big producer of popular domestic wines in South Africa, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz. This district is so unique that it contains a number of wards, each with their own distinctive characteristics. The wine produced here, and given Wine of Origin labels, will all share the strong earthy tastes produced by the red clay of the region. Most wine producers have learned to work with this flavour to produce exciting and adventurous wines for both the domestic market and overseas customers.
Olifant’s River is also known as having the highest (altitude) wine growing area in the entire world. A farm, called Cederberg Private Cellar, is more than 1150 metres above sea level. Although growing wine at this height is more difficult than on the ground (particularly in winter when the vineyards are above snow-line level), modern technologies have allowed the cellar to produce a fruity Pinotage and good white Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes. This wine area is also a popular tourist spot, as many people enjoy looking at the grapes being grown in this high altitude.